Wednesday, November 10, 2010

FGM: The Pathetic World of the Girl Child by Judith Abuah

“Is she circumcised?” asked the prospective groom.
“Er no, she isn’t circumcised replied the head of the prospective bride’s family. Isn’t the practice unnecessary, dangerous and dehumanizing to a female child? I’m convinced it doesn’t serve any useful purpose. You look shocked. Are you rejecting her because she isn’t circumcised?”
“…Forget about what the health experts say. What do you know about our culture and the sacredness of the female body? ... Our religion permits it. It‘s just a little cut from the clitoris. It is cleansing and a girl needs it to be considered clean.” Vanguard, Wednesday, November 3, 2010.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is the partial or total cutting of the external female genitalia, as a rite of passage preparing young girls for womanhood and marriage. The process involves the total removal of the clitoris (Clitoridectomy) and labia and the stitching and narrowing of the virginal orifice (Infibulations) to allow only urine and menstrual blood to pass through. When asked, devotees of FGM say it’s a culture, a tradition.
I tried to understand culture and traditions and I found out that: Culture is the behaviors and beliefs, characteristics of a particular social, ethnic, or age group; a way of life. Tradition then, is a long established way of thinking or acting; the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc., from generation to generation especially by word of mouth or by practice.
Truly, FGM is a long time-honored way of thinking or acting handed down from generations by practice. In my opinion, it is a tradition that should be faced out. If asked, I’ll say FGM originated as a result of men’s insecurity and complex problems. Excisors who practice FGM are either brain-washed or completely do not understand that this is another means of subjugating women under the guise of ‘culture’ aimed at curtailing women sexuality These are no excuses for the practice.
Helen Ovbiagele of Vanguard newspaper thinks the practice is weak and terrible, unconvincing, painfully useless and very dangerous to the girl child. Only God knows why this wicked practice started at all but there are obvious reasons why it must stop.
“Are you kidding, he asked amazed ’NGOs and health experts are campaigning against the practice and here you are, an enlightened 21st century young lady wanting to be circumcised. I won’t allow it. It is dangerous as you could bleed to death or contact a serious infection from the instrument used. As far as I am concerned female circumcision doesn’t make any sense. Our culture says it is necessary in order to curtail a girl’s desire for sex, or her enjoyment of it so that she doesn’t become sexually promiscuous”
“I’m serious, said the wife. I know what the health expert says…but one should listen to the elders. They are the keepers of our culture and they know best in these things.”
Vanguard, Wednesday, November 3, 2010.
These elders were once young people. Maybe they had their doubts, maybe they just accepted the practice because it was handed down by elders maybe… we don’t have to be like them because we know the truth, we know the practice has nothing good or humanizing to offer. The practice of slave trade has been abolished so, what’s still keeping FGM? I believe it’s only a culture started by our ancestors so many years ago and just like other traditions, this practice should be totally wiped out.
How, we may ask? Easy, get the words out that it’s harmful and not necessary. Personally, I think it could also be done in little ways like having little discussions with friends and encouraging them to do same.

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